Health Benefits And Uses Of

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid precursor to the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin that may help improve mood disorders, relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, reduce headaches, and manage stress by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

Support for Mood Disorders

5-HTP Background and Benefits

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body. Its primary use in the human body is as a precursor in the conversion of tryptophan into the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin. 5-HTP is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in several countries, including the United States. It is also available in European countries under trade names such as Cincofarm, Levotonine, Levothym, Oxyfan, Triptum, Telesol and Tript-OH.

Supplement forms of 5-HTP are typically available in gelatin and vegetarian capsules, usually in dosages of 50 and 100 mg. It has been available in a transdermal patch in the United Kingdom since 2014. The use of 5-HTP in an oral spray was also explored in a 2012 study. Dietary sources of 5-HTP are generally insignificant, although significant sources of tryptophan include meat, milk, potatoes and pumpkins. The most well-studied benefit of 5-HTP is its use for mood disorders. This psychoactive effect derives from 5-HTP's role in the production of serotonin.

A 2005 study of a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial supported its effectiveness in this capacity. However, larger studies are needed to further evaluate 5-HTP's effectiveness for mood disorders. The primary obstacle to further studies is obtaining the necessary funding, since 5-HTP can't be patented.

Uses of 5-HTP

Taking 5-HTP may help to improve low moods. Early studies show that 5-HTP may also have uses for mood disorders. Some scientific evidence also exists to support its use in reducing the symptoms of severe headaches. Other uses of 5-HTP include relieving the discomfort of fibromyalgia.

Low Moods

Studies show 5-HTP being effective for mood disorders, with initial results showing within the first month.


Supplements containing 5-HTP may relieve the discomfort associated with fibromyalgia, including morning stiffness and sleeplessness.

Frustration and Stress

5-HTP in combination with carbidopa is also used to help those who need additional support to cope with bouts of stress, low moods and to manage frustration.

Occasional headaches

Some studies have indicated that daily supplements of 5-HTP may help children cope with occasional headaches.

Signs You May Need 5-HTP

The most significant sign that you may need 5-HTP is a low serotonin level. Serotonin deficiency causes a range of symptoms, including low moods, frustration and stress and unhealthy sleeping patterns. You may also benefit from 5-HTP if you suffer from widespread ligament, muscle and tendon discomfort. People who are under the effects 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as "ecstasy" frequently use 5-HTP to replace the serotonin depleted by this psychoactive drug.

Synonyms and Similar Forms of 5-HTP

N-Acetyl D- 5-HTP, N-Acetyl 5-HTP, 5-HTP sulfate, 5-HTP hydrochloride